Apple has applied for a trademark in Japan for "iWatch", indicating it may proceed with rumoured plans to develop a so-called "smartwatch".
A document obtained from the Japan Patent Office by the Associated Press said the application was made on 3 June and made public on 27 June.
It is not known when the application might be approved.
Neither the patent office nor Apple officials in Japan were available for comment.
Rumours have circulated that Apple is working on a "smartwatch" that would run on a version of its operating system used by its iPhone and iPad.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook previously hinted that the company may be developing a wearable computing device such as a wristwatch.